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Christian Vazquez admits the Boston Red Sox bullpen has not been the same since Craig Kimbrel left the team four offseasons ago.
While Craig Kimbrel enters his first full season with the Chicago White Sox, his former Boston Red Sox teammate Christian Vazquez says the void in the bullpen is still felt years after his departure.
Kimbrel spent three years in his prime with the Red Sox. He was an AL All-Star each season in Boston, helping the Red Sox win their most recent World Series championship in 2018. Since that postseason series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kimbrel has been in The Windy City, playing initially for the Chicago Cubs before taking his talents to the South Side last summer.
With Kimbrel being on an expiring contract in 2022, he could make his way back to Boston if either he or the White Sox struggle in the first half of this season.
Red Sox: Christian Vazquez trying to speak a Craig Kimbrel reunion into existence
Kimbrel may be approaching his mid-30s, but the right-hander is one of the greatest closers of his generation. From this days as a fireballer with the Atlanta Braves, Kimbrel has been one of the most intimidating relief pitchers in all of baseball for well over a decade now. He will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame one day, but the cap he will be wearing remains to be seen.
Though he could have been traded to the Braves last summer, Atlanta’s Night Shift bullpen caught fire in the second half, so he is not as pressing of a need in Braves Country presently. However, Boston has not been the same team since Kimbrel left. If he were to come back to Boston, the Red Sox can be one of the best teams heading into the dog days of summer. Will he be traded, though?
Vazquez’s comments signify what happens once a great player leaves after an incredible run.